When I saw this month’s topic of staying connected to your teenage son, I laughed. I’ve got the answer for you, you’re just not going to like it! Here’s my advice: Stay up late and listen.
At my house it looks like this…I’m exhausted and really want to be in bed, but the trouble is that I’m so tired I don’t want to walk upstairs, so I sit there piddling around on social media. Finally, with my eyes about to start bleeding, I reach to close my computer and stumble up to my room and fall into bed.
Not so fast there, Melanie,
“Mom? Have you got a minute?”
My insides let out a gut-wrenching NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! while I calmly reply,
“Sure, honey. What’s on your mind?” I glance around frantically noticing that my dear husband has slipped upstairs and our son and I are alone. My heart sinks. (Hey, I’m only human and I was utterly exhausted.)
“I just wanted to talk. I’ve got some stuff on my mind…” he confesses and an hour later I’m even more tired, but I’m so glad I stayed up.
Those times when everyone else is in bed are rich. They’re parenting on steroids. Always stay up when they ask. Always. No matter how much it stinks. Just get some coffee or something, okay?
The other part is listening, which is harder than it sounds.
Sometimes teens talk on and on about things we don’t care about at all.Listen anyway. Sound interested. After all, you are interested in your son, aren’t you?
Sometimes they are worried about things that are silly. Or determined to talk about something urgently that’s not urgent at all.
Sometimes they just want to chat at really inconvenient times. Seriously, their melatonin production is a couple of hours off and they get sleepy later and wake up later. Pry your eyelids open and listen. Before you know it, they’ll be off at college. Listen while you can.
I am laughing, but every word is true. Teens want to talk late at night, alone, at inconvenient times. You may not feel like you want to listen, but teens are quiet when you feel like talking and open up when you feel like sleeping. It’s worth it, though, because when mom is there to listen when they need her, when she listens to what they care about, they keep coming back. They keep asking for advice. You can’t beat that.
Our adult sons have become some of our best friends. We enjoy them so much – and they enjoy us. It took a lot of late nights to get here, though, so grab a cup of coffee and say, “What’s on your mind, son?” and listen. You’ll be glad you did.
Pray with me. Father, please help us to remember to be gracious when our guys want to talk late at night. Help us to remember what’s really important and not all we have to do tomorrow. Help us listen and give us wisdom to give our boys. In Christ’s name.
We have three great webinar series for parents that will help you navigate all these things: Preflight, for teens and their parents, will help you get them ready to launch into the world. Boot Camp 9-12, for parents of boys nine to twelve or so, will help you get past the emotional swings and addleheadedness to get them geared up for the teen years. Boyhood Boot Camp is for parents of younger boys who want to learn all they can about raising godly sons. We’d love for you to join us at one of them!
Yours in the battle,